A chic Wānaka new build by Threefold Architecture and Gezellig Interiors

Sitting in front of the fire outside their Wānaka home toasting marshmallows with their kids was not something Alisha and Ben Goodwin envisaged when they moved back to Aotearoa from London, despite the journey to building this new family abode beginning years before they settled down in the scenic town. Although they didn’t know each other then, they’d individually pursued their passion for its picturesque landscape back in their Otago uni days, each developing an affinity for the area and its outdoor pursuits, but it wasn’t until years later, after they met on their OEs then started a family in Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland, that they had an epiphany about calling it home.

TOP Arriving at the Goodwins’, you’re greeted by a pair of pavilions arranged in an ‘H’ shape, with an entry courtyard between them. MIDDLE “Our boot room was a big point of contention, as you’ve got to spend wisely per square metre,” says Alisha. “Ben, the architect and the builder all suggested using the space for something else, but I was hell-bent on the idea — and now everyone loves it.” Set into cabinetry designed by Gezellig Interiors and made by Simon Douglas of Contour Furniture & Joinery (who teamed up throughout the house), lockers for each member of the family have proved super practical.

Finding themselves on regular southern sojourns for weekends away, weddings and the like, on one such trip they happened upon some sections for sale in the Northlake subdivision, near Mount Iron. “The development was nothing more than marked-out sites at that stage, which only required a deposit,” says Alisha. “We drove up, and seeing those 360-degree mountain views had us all of a sudden wondering if we could get one. We put a deposit on a piece of land before we even got home.”

ABOVE The interior colour palette is subdued so it doesn’t distract from the amazing view. On a Braided Jute rug by Nodi, sofas from MCM House and St Clements, PK22 chairs by Poul Kjærholm for Fritz Hansen from Mr Bigglesworthy and an Offset stool by Philippe Malouin for Resident from Simon James surround a coffee table from Kor Home to form a conversational space in the open-plan main living area.

Phase one of being pulled to the mainland saw them conceptualise their first build in this location as a holiday home. “We were never intending to move here, but then Covid hit,” says Alisha. “We were partway through building the holiday home and thought, ‘Why don’t we just move down?’ Remote working sorted, six weeks later, we were here.”

TOP “I started playing the piano when I was five, and my dad promised that if I got through all the grades, he’d buy me one,” says Alisha. “That was, like, 10 years worth of work, but when I did it, he followed through, and we went and bought this piano, which now lives in this space Bryce designed especially for it.” The items joining it include a Lampe de Marseille light by Le Corbusier, a vase by JS Ceramics and an artwork by Deborah Body from Public Record. ABOVE Curtains made by Wanaka Interiors filter the incoming sunlight and surround a chair from The Vintage Shop.

With their kids Archer, Freddie and Livvy all sharing a bedroom, the family quickly outgrew that dwelling, so when a larger section came up in the same area, they jumped at the chance to build again — this time fit for purpose as a permanent residence.

ABOVE “This open-plan area is focused around flexibility and interaction,” says interior designer Annique. “We like to create pockets of intimacy within large living spaces, and here both the dining zone with its open bar and the piano tucked around the corner create break-out zones that draw away from the busy hub of the kitchen and allow for a variety of social moments.”

“I obsess over all the aesthetic decisions, but our real driver was how we live,” says Alisha. “We love cooking and entertaining, and wanted to build a home around being social. Our goal from the get-go was to ensure there was enough space to have our friends and family over all the time.”

ABOVE Hanging low over the Bok dining table by Ethnicraft from Nest, with vintage Side chairs by Harry Bertoia for Knoll at each end and others from Dawson & Co, is a PH 4/3 pendant light by Louis Poulsen that Alisha bought on eBay and held onto for 15 years before finally finding the perfect place for it here. She made the ceramic bowl herself, while the artwork pictured is by Laura Currie of Loveday Barnes (left) and Clare Dubina.

To help crystalise their vision, she and Ben engaged Bryce Monk of Threefold Architecture and Annique Heesen of Gezellig Interiors. “Without their input and interpretation of our ideas, we couldn’t have achieved what we aspired to,” says Alisha.

TOP “We underestimated how much we’d love the courtyard off the dining area,” says Alisha. “The textured walls, the wood stack, the Palissade furniture [by French brothers] Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec] — it feels so French. Ben and I have coffee there in the sun in the morning, while watching the chaos of the kids having breakfast through the window, then when they’re in bed at night, I’ll put some music on and have a wine out there.” ABOVE “Inserting the full-height Fisher & Paykel wine fridge and the cool drawer into the cabinetry in the dining space was a genius move,” says Alisha. “I can’t wait until the snow’s on the mountains and we can get an après-ski mood going.”

Working with a bigger site allowed Alisha to incorporate design details she’d dreamed of all her life. “I have memories from when I was a kid of my parents’ friends turning up to parties at our home,” she says. “We’d watch them drive in and walk up to the front door all dressed up, so there’s a real sense of nostalgia in that for me. Here, we’ve created our version, with beautiful textured walls at the front of the house that create a special moment on arrival.”

ABOVE The kitchen pulls focus with Formakami JH5 (left) and JH3 pendants by Jaime Hayon for &Tradition, and Portland Taupe limestone from Island Stone with sandblasted edges atop cabinetry crafted from Cinnamon Triba timber veneer from VidaSpace.

An entrance courtyard follows, featuring pavers edged with gravel and planting that takes cues from the Mediterranean, chosen for hardiness in this arid environment and to complement the architecture, which Alisha describes as “Tuscan farmhouse with a Japanese sensibility” and pays homage to the couple’s time living abroad and love of travel.

ABOVE A cosy feel has been encouraged via the application of Resene Sandtex to the ceiling and walls by painter Ben Eastwood of Eastwood Environmental. The minimal furnishings in this media room include an Aim pendant by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Flos from ECC, a coffee table from Bohème Home and a set of Sheepskin Stones by Wilson & Dorset.

The European flavour continues as you arrive at the front door, which is flanked by steel-framed windows that give a first glimpse inside. Rather than offering up the view to the mountains beyond at this point, the artwork is showcased first, before the big reveal around the  bend that never fails to wow guests as they make their way into the main open-plan living area. A cathedral ceiling soars overhead and concrete floors stretch out underfoot in this space layered with soothing, tactile materials.

TOP Alisha adores the powder room, with its light sourced from New York, and bespoke mirror, basin and vanity by Gezellig Interiors, plus tapware by ABI Interiors. “I wanted it to feel like when you’re at a restaurant and someone goes, ‘Oh my god, you’ve got to see the bathroom.’” ABOVE The automated blinds from Wanaka Interiors in the couple’s bedroom are “something I’d recommend to anybody”, says Alisha. “They’re not that costly but they’re so luxurious. We just push a button in the morning, up go the blinds and there are the mountains.” An artwork by Tom Mackie on the top shelf is among the chic edit of objects arranged in this spot designated for display.

“Our brief from Alisha and Ben was to create a series of spaces that felt as if they’d been there for a while, and weren’t too new and polished,” says Annique. “Using textural stone paired with dark timber as the solid-surface heroes, then finishing with design details with curved edges to soften the spaces has made for an interior that’s robust and welcoming at the same time.”

TOP Guests are treated to a room complete with twin singles that can alternatively be pushed together to form one big bed. Vintage prints from Babelogue on the ledge are the ideal match for the bed linen from Foxtrot Home. ABOVE A pair of custom-stained oak mirrors hang side by side above the bespoke vanity crafted from the same Portland Taupe limestone used throughout the house and cohesively combined with tapware by ABI Interiors. Alisha saw a similar vessel to the one below in Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland’s Hotel Britomart and knew she had to have a Rachel Carter vase of her own. “We don’t like to have heaps of stuff, just the right pieces that can stand alone.”

Achieving her aim of facilitating social interaction, Alisha cites the generous kitchen island as the home’s heart. “People really gravitate towards it and its tactility,” she says. Its practicality is a real win too, because neither she nor Ben can bear clutter. “People always ask us, ‘Where’s all your stuff? How do you keep it so tidy?’ We’re so busy with life, work and side hustles that keeping things minimal really helps us mentally, so we’ve got cupboards and drawers everywhere.”

ABOVE Identical colour schemes and configurations kept all things equal with the kids’ rooms and allows them to put their personal touch on top as their tastes evolve. Big wardrobes, and shelves and corkboards above their built-in desks, provide a place for everything, while their headboards were designed by Gezellig Interiors and made by David Shaw.

Utility spaces such as the mudroom, scullery and laundry have been designed as workhorses with an elegant execution. Alisha says the scullery is “a saviour”. The pantry is well stocked for baking — essential for the recipe testing she conducts for Crumbs & Confetti NZ, for which she and her business partner Sarah Godfrey create cake and cupcake kits for those grappling with similarly hectic households. Against the neutral colour palette derived from the surrounding landscape, handcrafted fixtures, locally made furnishings and treasured objects of interest come together in succinct vignettes that reflect the couple’s eye for finishing touches.

ABOVE Spending more time outside was a major motivation for the couple’s shift south, so their outdoor areas are a highlight for them now. In this part of the property, they hang out on Caldena furniture from 4 Seasons.

“We’ve always been collectors — finding things on eBay, in vintage stores and through independent makers,” says Alisha. “There’s loads of stuff here that we’ve carried around for years, waiting for the right space in which to use it. Our art has been bought over a long period of time as well — it’s something we enjoy looking out for to mark milestone occasions. Reflecting on when I studied interior design 20 years ago, my portfolios were pretty much what we’re living with now. We’ve worked our way up to the home we’ve always wanted.”

TOP Freddie (left), Archer and Livvy have been maximising their use of the pool for as long as possible before the weather turns. ABOVE “The outdoor fire by our builder Hugh Bagley is such a drawcard,” says Alisha. “This summer, we’ve used the outdoor kitchen most nights, and there are heaters in this louvred area, so we hope to still be sitting out there with friends during winter too.”

Time moves quickly in the Goodwin household. Amid the daily juggle of parenting and professionalism, and the weekly demands of working remotely and travel, it’s a wonder they have any energy left for entertaining. But somehow Alisha and Ben do manage to fit it all in, and when they look back on their journey thus far, they’re pleased with the path they’ve taken to ensure their family can make the best of life as they know it. 

Words Alice Lines
Photography Biddi Rowley

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